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Man Drowns at Phuket Beach: No Lifeguards Because of Annual Dispute

Wednesday, May 6, 2015
PHUKET: A 19-year-old man drowned at a Phuket beach yesterday with lifeguards on the holiday island not operating shore patrols because of a dispute over an annual contract.

The death of Panya "Ing" Tanunchaichomphu, from Lampang, at Nai Harn beach prompted relatives and friends to write an open letter to the National Council for Peace and Order,

Khun Ing was brought ashore by family yesterday afternoon. Onlookers tried to assist with CPR for 30 minutes before an ambulance arrived.

''Ing loved his friends, family and motorcycles,'' one friend later wrote to Phuket news outlets.

''He had recently completed an associates degree, and was planning to begin an internship before finishing his bachelors degree in Chiang Mai.''

Lifeguards have been absent from Phuket's 13 main tourist beaches since March 27 in a dispute that usually leaves the holiday island's beaches unguarded for up to seven weeks.

In a letter to the NCPO, the dead man's family said:

''Each year, Phuket's lifeguards save many swimmers in distress. However annually, the lifeguard organisation re-negotiates bids with the government and inexcusably during this time, zero guards are protecting the beach.

''Surf season has already begun, putting many innocent visitor's lives at serious risk. At an otherwise world class tourist-friendly island destination, this is totally inexcusable, avoidable and a crying shame.

''People should feel safe enjoying the beach, regardless of contacts and budgets. In order to protect Thailand and Phuket's image, guards need to be stationed on beaches all year long.

''Therefore, the victim's family respectfully urges General Prayuth and the NCPO to correct this problem by ending the annual pattern. In using its power to expediently consider this urgent matter, we appreciate the government's kind attention and genuine concern.''

Lifeguards are expected to be back on Phuket's beaches before June.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


So sad for the deceased's family and friends and commend them for the well written appropriate letter.... it's about time this lifeguard nonsense ends and Phuket beaches have guards 365 days of the year... EVERY YEAR.

Posted by DG on May 6, 2015 07:05


Sad news and was in the well known area for rips the yacht club when it was operating as meridian used to have a line with floats there.

When there are lifeguards they usually red flag this area and patrol it

Sad that someone had to lose there life because of silly bureaucratic procedures

They should not be haggling over budget, should be giving more, for proper medical equipment and training

Posted by Michael on May 6, 2015 08:09


It's all about the money !!!!!!

Posted by Greg on May 6, 2015 09:19


"A crying shame" is an understatement. I am so very sorry for this person and his family. Shame on Phuket officials for acting like irresponsible children and fighting this battle on an annual basis. Their unacceptable behavior and lack of priorities cost a person his life. Shame Shame Shame

Posted by Richard Vickers on May 6, 2015 09:40


RIP Khun Ing, condoleances to his family. A young man in the strength of his life died at a dangerous unguarded location, NaiHarn Beach. Naiharn Beach has very dangerous rip currents.
Question of the day: Which thai authority now is responsible for the death of this 19 year old future promising thai person due to the fact that there are no beach guards?
Naiharn Beach is well known for the high number of people rescued by beach guards. This beach simply can't be without beach guards, specially not now the wet season with strong wind/waves.

Posted by Kurt on May 6, 2015 09:49



the answer to your Question is
the man himself, as he take responsibility for his actions and his own risks in life - regardless of what is responsibility of authorities to mitigate either risks or harm (regulation of beaches, signage, lifeguard service etc.), as it comes only secondary and quite discretionary.

Let me cite one legal passage construed from a Germanic legal tradition point of view, that assumingly should be well known to you:

"An ancient saying runs ' casum sentit dominus '; in English it would read 'let the loss lie where it falls ' . This rule, which is sometimes called the 'property rule', expresses a fundamental and natural idea: If someone suffers damage, then in principle he must bear this damage himself. Everybody bears the risk for his own goods, unless another is liable for the harm. Just as each individual is entitled to enjoy advantageous changes to and uses of his interests, on the other hand he must also bear the disadvantageous changes.
...this principle is not by any means merely expedient, rather it consists in an elementary justice consideration, because it expresses the self-evident nature of the proposition that everyone must bear his own 'general risk of life' and that it is not always possible to pass it on to other private law subjects. This basic rule is also tied to the consideration that firstly, the question as to which other private law subject should bear the damage is necessarily left entirely unanswered and secondly, neither can the public always be expected to cover the risk.
However, it is apparent that in today???s society there is an increased perception ??? fuelled by certain unrealistic political 'land of milk and honey' delusions ???that the individual can be cocooned away from all risks; that someone else is always responsible for any damage the individual suffers, and thus each victim???s loss must always be covered. becomes clear how completely illogical it would be if damage always had to be borne by another person and never by the person basically closest to the damage, who owns the damaged interest and who is best placed to protect it against injury ??? especially when it can be taken as self-evident that the owner of the interest has exclusive enjoyment of the full advantages of this interest."

Helmut Koziol, "Basic Questions of Tort Law from a Germanic Perspective (2012)", that has been put in public domain by the publisher and the author :

That bring said it doesn't exonerate authorities from serial mishandling of many beach safety related issues, but just to put what comes first.

Posted by Sue on May 6, 2015 11:58



I am wondering why you comment on almost every story, even one like this that you appear to know nothing about.

I suggest you do some research on the subject and actually understand what's involved here.

Leaving an international tourist destination beach such as Nai Harn without lifeguards is unconscionable, this is a known hazardous spot. If your argument held any 'water', there would be no need for lifeguards or any safety measures at all in Phuket's waters.

If the surf gets any bigger, there will likely be more drownings.

'An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.'

However, in this case even a ton of cure won't help. This young man is dead and unfortunately there is no cure for that.

Posted by pktbeachgoer on May 6, 2015 14:00


@ Sue. thank you so much for your answer. It make things ( international seen) very clear.
Sue, how would you project it on the Srisoonthorn Bridge affair? ( car stopped on the bridge for sunset view, as many cars do, and motorcycle carrying 2 children hits it, 1 kid died, 1 in hospital).

Posted by Kurt on May 6, 2015 14:13

Sunday November 29, 2020
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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